THE FLATS - Georgia Tech closes out its pre-conference schedule this week by facing Coppin State for the first time ever at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night at McCamish Pavilion.
The Yellow Jackets (5-6) comes out of the holiday break having lost five of its last six games, including an 85-81 home loss to Wright State most recently last Friday night. Tech is in its second season under head coach Josh Pastner, the 2017 ACC Coach of the Year, after going 21-16 overall, finishing 8-10 (11th) in the ACC and reaching the championship game of the NIT last season.
Coppin State (0-13), in its first season under former Maryland star Juan Dixon, has played 11 of its games on the road from coast-to-coast, having traveled Oregon to open the season and also visiting Cincinnati, Rutgers, Georgetown, Connecticut and West Virginia along the way. The Eagles pay a visit to Penn State Saturday before opening Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference play Jan. 3 at Norfolk State.
Wednesday’s game will be not be televised, but will be streamed live on the ACC Network Extra, available through the ESPN app. Radio coverage is provided by the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network and can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM). Tech’s broadcast can also be heard nationally on SiriusXM satellite radio (Sirius ch. 108, XM ch. 193).
THE STARTING LINEUP
• Georgia Tech has one more non-conference game left on its schedule, Yale at home on Jan. 6. The Yellow Jackets open their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule Saturday at Notre Dame and host Miami Jan. 3.
• Tech has yet to play a game with its entire roster healthy and available. The Yellow Jackets played their first eight games without its leading scorer and ACC All-Freshman player from last season, Josh Okogie. They played without senior guard Tadric Jackson for the first three games; without sophomore point guard Justin Moore for three games; and have been without freshman guard Curtis Haywood II for the last three games.
• Five Atlantic Coast Conference teams are currently ranked in both the Associated Press polls - Duke (4), North Carolina (5), Miami (6), Virginia (13) and Florida State (24). Notre Dame was a top 25 team until this week, but still is receiving votes along with Clemson and Syracuse. The Jackets have already faced UCLA (No. 21 in preseason) and Northwestern (No. 20 in preseason).
• Head coach Josh Pastner needs seven victories to reach 200 for his head coaching career. In nine-plus seasons, Pastner has a record of 193-94.
SERIES VS. COPPIN STATE
• Georgia Tech and Coppin State are meeting for the first time on the basketball court.
• This is the Yellow Jackets’ third game against a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference this season, having defeated Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 19 and Florida A&M on Dec. 17. Tech is 32-0 all-time against the MEAC.
• Tech coach Josh Pastner has never faced Coppin State as a head coach, but is 4-0 against MEAC teams.
COACH PASTNER AUDIO FOLLOWING WRIGHT STATE GAME
• Head coach Josh Pastner has used four different lineups this season, but has started the same lineup in Tech’s last three games following the return of Josh Okogie to action. Okogie started against Florida A&M and Georgia along with Jose Alvarado, Tadric Jackson, Ben Lammers and Moses Wright. Jackson started his sixth straight game against Wright State, and Wright third straight start and fourth of the season. Curtis Haywood II, who had started seven straight games, sat out for the third consecutive game with a shin injury.
• Alvarado and Lammers have started every game this season. Lammers has started Tech’s last 48 consecutive games.
• Tech scored a season-high 81 points, surpassing the 78 it scored on Nov. 22 against Texas-Rio Grande Valley. The Yellow Jackets last scored more on Feb. 7 of last season (96 vs. Tusculum).
• Tech led at the half, 40-31, a season-high for points in the first half. The Jackets have scored 40 or more in the second half five times this season, but never more than 35 in the first half.
• The Yellow Jackets have lost twice this season despite shooting 50 percent or better from the floor. Tech connected on 57.1 percent at Wofford yet lost 63-60, and 50.9 percent against Wright State and lost 85-81. The Jackets are 6-2 under Josh Pastner when shooting 50 percent from the floor.
• Tech has given up 80 points or more in back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 2 and 6, 2016 (North Carolina, 86-78, and Pittsburgh,89-84), both losses on the road.
• Tech has connected on just five threes in 27 attempts in its last two games against Georgia and Wright State. The Yellow Jackets had made 37.4 percent of its three-point field goals and averaged 6.0 per game (43-for-115) over the seven games prior to that.
• Tech has accumulated 32 steals in its last three games.
• Tech went 20-of-27 from the free throw line against Wright State and is scoring 16.1 points per game from the charity stripe this season (13.6 points per game last season). Tech ranks 23rd nationally according to Kenpom.com in percentage of free throw attempts to field goal attempts (43.4 percent) and 10th in percentage of total points scored from the free throw line (24.2 percent).
• Pastner meter 1 (assists to made field goals): Tech assisted on just nine of 29 field goals made and 14 of 51 in its last two games (27.5 percent), falling short its nightly goal of 60 percent for the first time this season. The Jackets have assisted on 57.6 percent of their made field goals for the season, after finishing last season at 62.7 percent (63.2 percent rate in ACC games).
• Pastner meter 2 (free throws made to opponents’ attempts): Tech made 20-of-27 free throws to Wright State’s 18-of-25 (goal of making more than opponent tries not accomplished). For the season, Tech has converted 177 free throws, while opponents have attempted 190. Tech is 25-7 under Josh Pastner when attempting more free throws than the opponent.
• Pastner meter 3 (guard rebounding): Tech’s guards combined for nine of Tech’s 20 defensive rebounds.
• Josh Okogie has averaged 20.3 points per game in his three games back on the court. The 6-4 sophomore has hit 43.9 percent of his shots from the floor, 4-of-9 from three-point range and 21-of-27 from the free throw line. Okogie has scored in double figures 35 times in 40 career games. He scored 20 or more for the 11th time against Wright State (21 points, 7-12 FG, 6-8 FT).
• Freshman Jose Alvarado reached double digits for the second straight game, scoring a career/season-best 23 points (7-14 FG, 8-10 FT) against Wright State. He is averaging 14.7 points for the season, hitting 45.7 percent of his field goals and 82.6 percent of his free throws (team-high 46 attempts).
• Tadric Jackson has scored in double digits in each game since returning to the court, and had 14 against Wright State. The senior guard has reached double figures 17 times in his last 19 games and 31 times since the beginning of last season.
• Jackson went 6-of-11 from the floor against Wright State, and is hitting 62.5 percent of his shots (45-of-72) from inside the three-point arc this season, 51 percent overall.
• Jackson, who finished second in the balloting for ACC Sixth Man of the Year last season, made his sixth start of the 2017-18 season against Wright State, and the 6-2 senior has started 18 games in his career.
• Ben Lammers got back to double figures against Wright State for the first time in three games and recorded his third double-double of the season (10 points and 10 rebounds). He has accumulated 19 double-doubles since the beginning of last season. Lammers had all 10 of his rebounds in the second half against the Raiders.
• Lammers blocked two shots against Wright State to give him 206 blocks for his career, sitting in sole possession of fourth place in Tech history and needing 37 to catch John Salley (243 from 1982-86) for third place.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is in its second year under head coach Josh Pastner. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.